Retirement is not an option for Donald Triggs, a key player in the blossoming of Canada’s modern wine industry and co-owner of soon-to-be launched Culmina Family Estate Winery.
A native of rural Manitoba, representing the sixth generation on the family farm, Don left the nest to complete a degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba and an MBA at Western. He started his career in Ontario doing sales and marketing with Colgate Palmolive. In 1972 he moved to John Labatt’s wine division where his experience ranged from fixing troubled sectors of winery operations to running large wine producers in Canada and abroad.
In the hope of staying in Canada with his family, Don joined Fisions PLC based in Vancouver, taking their troubled North American horticultural division from money loser to industry leader. With the 1989 North American Free Trade Agreement around the corner, Don risked everything. He joined forces with Alan Jackson and former Labatt colleagues who pooled their life savings to buy the brewer’s wine division.
Renamed Vincor International with Don as CEO, it grew to become the biggest wine enterprise in Canada and seventh largest in the world. When Constellation Brands US acquired Vincor in 2006, Don resigned and set out to build Culmina with wife Elaine as partner and daughter Sara as sales and marketing manager.
Don has lured Bordeaux-trained Pascal Madevon (formerly winemaker at Osoyoos Larose) to the promising scenario at Culmina.
Read more of the original stories celebrated in our 30th-anniversary issue.
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